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Indian Consumer Confidence picks up in Q1 2012, Retains Top Position for Ninth Quarter


Optimism over job prospects, state of personal finances up from last quarter

Job security, economy, continue to top future concerns 

Indian consumers continue to be the most confident across the globe for the ninth consecutive quarter, rising one index point to 123 in the first quarter over the previous, according to the latest global consumer confidence findings (for the first quarter in 2012) from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. 

In this latest round of the survey, conducted between February 10 and February 27, 2012, Global consumer confidence increased five index points to 94 in Q1 2012. Overall confidence rose in 68 percent of global markets measured, compared to Q4 2011 where confidence increased in 21 percent of global markets. Confidence in Q1 2012 increased in 38 out of 56 markets, fell in 16 markets and remained flat in two. 

“The stabilization of India’s consumer confidence metric is encouraging and the retention of the top spot globally reminds us of the inherent strength of the Indian economy, the savings mindset of the Indian consumer, and the positivity of consumer sentiment which has likely been helped by the recent cooling of inflationary pressure and the RBI rate cut,” said Justin Sargent, Managing Director, Nielsen India.

After India, the other countries in the top five retain their spot from the previous quarter, though their order of ranking has changed. Saudi Arabia comes in second with a six point increase from the last quarter to 119. Indonesia and Philippines jointly rank third with 118 index points. Brazil & China tie in at the fourth position with 110 index points each, even as Brazil dropped 2 index points from the last quarter. The biggest quarterly confidence gains last quarter came from Taiwan, Chile and the United States.

Optimism over jobs, personal finance dips

Indian optimism over job prospects in the next twelve months has gone up from 78 percent in the last quarter to 84 percent and  continues to top the global index on this scale. China (72%) Philippines (72%), & Saudi Arabia (72%) trail India in their optimism over job prospects.

Seventy nine percent of Indian respondents are confident about the state of their personal finances compared to seventy six in the previous quarter. India, along with Indonesia & Philippines lead this scale at seventy nine percent followed by Brazil with 77 percent. Indian optimism over their personal finances was at eighty percent in Q2 2011.

“Even as the global economy is witnessing a slowdown especially in Europe, there seems to be a fair bit of optimism here in India. While the mood is buoyant when it comes to job security, the state of the economy remains a valid concern,” said Sargent.

Despite this optimism over job prospects and personal finances, only one in two Indians polled indicate that it was a good time to buy things they wanted, the figures dropping from 54 percent last quarter.  

A savings focus

The optimistic, yet cautious streak continues when it comes to savings after meeting essential living expenses. This quarter, 59 percent of Indian online consumers say they will put aside their spare cash in savings, compared to 62 percent last quarter.

Compared to the last quarter, the spending patterns have not changed, but overall spending has decreased. Along with savings, Indians put aside cash for buying new clothes ( 36%), new technology products (32%). The survey also found that online consumers are spending less on planning a vacation (29%)  and on home improvements (29%).

“Indian consumers show consistency in their allocation of spare cash.  Although the actual spends have reduced, the focus is still on savings, with other expenses being a juggling of priorities. But there is a marked preference shown for a better lifestyle with expenditure on new clothes, vacations, home improvements and technology products appearing on their list of priorities every quarter,” said Sargent. 

Looking Ahead: Major Concerns for Indians

Though not ranking in the top countries surveyed, over a horizon of the next six months, online consumers in India have indicated that the biggest concern is job security (21%),  followed by concern over the state of the economy (9%). Other concerns include work/ life balance and children’s education and welfare.

“The Indian consumer is worried about which way the economy is headed. What is seemingly weighing on them is the possible impact the economy can have on their jobs and hence the obvious fiscal prudence shown in their discretionary spends,” concludes Sargent.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between February 10 and February 27, 2012 and polled more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit